Interview Questions About Trends in Your Profession

Be prepared to discuss trending topics in your career field during job interviews.
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During job interviews for some positions, and in some industries, you can expect to get questions about industry trends. 

After all, most employers are looking to hire employees who are forward-thinking and in tune with trends impacting their profession. With insight into trends and what's expected in your industry, you can help propel a company beyond the status quo.

Being engaged with the industry shows you care about it—it's an indicator that you're passionate about work, and will go beyond the bare minimum as an employee. 

Interviewers and recruiters are very likely to expect you to know about trending topics in your profession and/or career field. Here's what you need to know to give meaningful responses to questions about trends. 

What Interviewers Wants to Know

When interviewers ask questions about trends within your industry, they're looking to find out a few things. First, they want to know if you have an awareness of the big themes and trends in your field. At a certain career and role level, it's expected that you'll keep up with industry news and have your finger on the pulse. 

Your knowledge of trends can help direct the choices you make at work. For instance, an awareness of what users want may determine how you create a marketing campaign or which widget you support developing. 

Interviewers also ask about trends to get a sense of your engagement with work. They're looking to see if you're passionate about your industry and go beyond the bare minimum of being present. 

Finally, interviewers may also be looking for how you keep track of news and which sources you turn to. 

How to Answer Interview Questions About Trends in Your Profession

When you're asked about trends, highlight a few that you think are most important. Pointing to a recent story, event, or attention-grabbing Twitter thread can be helpful. 

You'll also want to be able to talk about why you think these trends are significant. As a bonus, weave into your response how you think a trend might impact your work. 

How Can You Keep Up with Trends? 

You should be able to show the interviewer that you are on top of what’s new and noteworthy. To do that, you'll need to regularly spend time researching the latest trends in your field to make sure you acquire the knowledge and skills to keep pace with change.

When you are in job search mode, it is especially important to have a handle on trends and to be prepared to comfortably discuss your views about the factors influencing the evolution of your profession.

Even if you are not explicitly asked about trends, your insight into the industry can be helpful throughout your interview. It can inform your responses to other interview questions.

Wondering how to stay current on the news and trends within your industry? You've got lots of options. Here are a few ideas: 

  • Attend events: Conferences tend to book thought leaders and big names within industries to give keynote addresses. Pay attention to what these speakers discuss—and also listen for mentions of any Twitter accounts, websites, or other resources or places for information that they mention. You can also attend webinars, workshops, meet-ups, and seminars to keep current on trends. 
  • Follow prominent figures on social media: Thanks to the internet, you can follow along with the reading lists and discussions of the leaders and big thinkers within your field. In fact, you can even (politely) engage with them on social media, and become a part of the conversation. 
  • Subscribe to newsletters: Along with social media, seek out industry newsletters, from the formal ones written by major groups to the chatty ones from people who are passionate about the industry. Podcasts can also be a rich source of information, as can industry trade publications.
  • Seek out relevant groups on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other platforms: Groups on LinkedIn and Facebook are full of conversations, shared ideas, and links to interesting articles that can help you sense the trends within your field. 
  • Set up Google alerts: You can create alerts around key industry terms, ongoing news stories, or buzzwords. That way, you will always be up-to-date on the latest information.

During interviews, as well as mentioning trends, you can share where you learned about them. That will show that you're interested and involved in the industry, and actively seeking to stay current. 

Examples of the Best Answers

Once you're actively following and reading thought leaders and stars in your field, as well as keeping up to date through newsletters, podcasts, and other sources of information, it's easier to talk about trends. 

Here are some potential ways to respond if you are asked about the latest trends in your industry, where you think the industry is headed, how you keep up with industry trends, or other similar questions. 

Example Answer #1

I enjoy conversing with fellow professionals, and the buzz recently has focused on the importance of maintaining adequate loan reserves at this point in the economic cycle.

Why It Works: This candidate shows they prioritize networking and mentions a key trend. 

Example Answer #2

I follow John Brown, Jane Smith, and Bob Meyers on Twitter, and they all have touted the urgency of reducing expenses by outsourcing programming to lower-cost countries.

Why It Works: Name-checking big names and thought leaders in the field is a very effective strategy. Plus, this candidate shows that they're noticing a stand-out theme across these influencers. 

Example Answer #3

I recently read an article in the Journal of Marketing underscoring the importance of tapping social media to more effectively target market segments.

Why It Works: This candidate shows that they're reading industry publications and points to a specific article that grabbed their attention. 

More Sample Answers

  • There were three or four sessions devoted to Search Engine Marketing strategies at this year's annual conference for the Web Marketing Association, and I was able to attend two workshops and learned...
  • I find our industry so fascinating. Without even trying, I've followed and engaged with some of the big thought leaders in our field, such as Sarah Jane, Joe Smith, and so on. As well as my early-morning Twitter scrolling, I subscribe to newsletters from mainstream and industry publications. Plus, I try to attend at least one big conference a year. I find that conversations with peers can be as valuable as the keynote speakers and workshops at these events.

Tips for Giving the Best Answers 

Try these strategies if you're asked about trends in your field: 

  • Keep it short. Most likely, the interviewer isn't expecting a prepared speech. Talk about one or two (maybe three) meaningful trends. But don't let your response drag on for too long. Instead, focus on the trends that you think are most important and most likely to change the industry in some way. 
  • Share your sources .Interviewers will be interested to know which voices you find meaningful. Mention how you learned about this trend, whether it's a podcast, newsletter, or so on. 
  • Talk about the impact of trends. Naming a trend is great. If you can go a level beyond that, though, and talk about why the trend matters and how it affects the work you're doing in this role, or change the company's priorities, that'll show that you're an analytical thinker and connecting the dots. 

What Not to Say 

  • Go blank or act flustered. If you're unprepared for this question, it can be tricky. Remember, it's always OK to ask for more time. For instance, you can say, "Let me think for a moment," or say, "That's such a good question. Can we circle back around to it?" Stalling for time may allow you to think of a trend you want to highlight. You can always expand a bit on your response in your thank-you note. 
  • Stay away from the obvious. If you can, try to give a response that's thoughtful and shows that you're involved in the field beyond the surface level. That said, it's better to name-check some trend, even if it's an obvious one, than not give any response at all. 

Possible Follow-Up Questions 

Key Takeaways

STAY INFORMED. Part of your preparation for a job interview should be staying up to date on industry news.

SHARE SOURCES. Talk about what kind of outlets you rely on to keep you informed. 

CONNECT TRENDS TO THE ROLE AT HAND. If possible, build a connection between a trend you're calling out and the company—or better still, talk about how the trend would influence you in the role at hand.